Daily Time Blocking – Day 3
I didn’t plan all my blocks first thing in the morning today. There was an urgent request from my manager when I arrived, so I spent the first 1h30min dealing with this task.
After that, I looked at my notes from yesterday and I noted that I still needed to finish clarifying and organizing a bunch of new inputs I got this week. So I blocked that off, then I had an appointment with my therapist. And that was basically my morning.
But I had a nice conversation with my therapist about attention and focus, and how to best use time blocking.
One of the discussion points was: “Why do I avoid planning my whole day at the beginning of the day?”
One of the reasons is that I’m afraid of the commitment, and I’m afraid to fail. That damn perfectionist tendency!
And it will take practice for me to get used to failing. In these 3 days, I changed my plan at least 4 times each day. And that’s okay ( I keep telling myself).
Another good insight was the use of time blocks that represent different mental modes, and different types of focus. For example:
- Emails: to check and process emails. Instead of having emails open all the time, schedule dedicated time blocks to act on them.
- Planning: to plan the day, clarify and organize. The end-of-day shutdown routine is included here.
- Work block: blocks to focus on my tasks. In this mode, no checking of emails or messages is allowed. The choice of tasks to work on will come from my next action lists. Time to use the Pomodoro technique here!
- Snack/Breaks/Lunch: using in conjunction with the Pomodoro technique. Plan for some short and long breaks. Lunch break is mandatory!
- Meetings/Appointments: those are already in my Calendar, I just need to acknowledge them and show up when the time comes. They can impact how many “work” blocks I can have in a day.
- Calls: a block to deal with the calls I have to make, pulling from the @calls context on my next action list. I won’t have this block every day, it depends on my project’s timeline.
- Admin/Misc tasks: a block to deal with quick/easy wins and miscellaneous tasks. I don’t need to have it every day, my therapist suggested I choose one day of the week for it, maybe two.
Looking at these “mental modes” it became clearer to me the advantages of time blocking. I’ve had many days when I was constantly switching back and forth between these modes, but I was never focusing on one at a time. That resulted in a stressful day, with my attention scattered everywhere and no accomplishments.
A snapshot of today’s plan:
Day 03 – It was going to start with some Planning & Organizing, but I had to put out a fire early in the day. I had to readjust, and some tasks had to be moved to the next day.
I will think more about those modes, and try to come up with a “skeleton time block” structure for my week. What is my typical week? How many “work” and “emails” blocks I want or need every day? Then I just adjust week by week and day by day depending on the reality of that week.
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.